“Growth, Energy, Security, Economy” - Subsea Cables

ESCA identifies actions that can be taken by the new UK Government to support resilient UK subsea cables.
Tuesday, 09 July 2024

ESCA have identified four ‘quick wins’ that are achievable in the first 100 days of the new government and will support opportunities for growth offered by vital undersea infrastructure.

Summary of Sectors Global and national internet/communications connectivity and subsea energy transmission are reliant on subsea cables. Recent events have heightened awareness of the resilience and security of these vital underwater links, and demand for space on the seabed creates challenges for cable laying and repair.

  • Telecommunications/data cables enable global business and communications with >99% of intercontinental global communications travelling by subsea cable. >$10 Trillion financial transactions per day.
  • Subsea power transmission cables are critical to the reliable and resilient operation of the UK power transmission grid and enable the movement of renewable energy both within the UK and between countries
  • Subsea cables bring energy from offshore wind/renewable sources – without cables, energy from offshore renewables could not come ashore.

Internet, Data & the Global Economy

  • The UK economy fundamentally relies upon subsea telecommunications/data cables facilitating global connectivity. Subsea cables carry more than 99% of global intercontinental communications/data.

Offshore Wind

  • Without subsea power cables there is no offshore wind. Estimations show the UK could install around 140GW of offshore wind capacity by 2050 to reach net zero.

Subsea Power Transmission & Distribution

  • Subsea power cables, both transmission and distribution are vital components in the pathway to 2030 and everyday life. These critical assets require support to enable their construction and operation, along with protection from damage. They are critical for UK energy security.

Island communities

  • Domestic power & telecoms cables provide essential services (energy, emergency services, healthcare, business, social etc.) and lifeline connectivity for UK island communities.

Four Achievable Supportive Actions:

  1. Engage with the industry – join industry briefing on the primary issues related to subsea cable security and resilience.
  2. Accelerate decarbonisation and economic growth. Review the existing consenting processes for marine industries – to reduce time delays, decrease cost, and streamline resource demands in decision making.
  3. Take action to address and understand ‘Spatial Squeeze’ and the increasing demand for space on the seabed. Cables need access to the UK – and this needs effective working with international partners.
  4. Support cross-government working on subsea infrastructure policy to coordinate across all subsea cable sector policy areas – energy and telecommunication – aligned with policies impacting other marine industries.

Figure 1 Subsea cables in UK and surrounding waters. Source: KIS-ORCA

ESCA Plenary - 6th/7th March, NOC, Southampton
Tuesday, 20 February 2024

A record attendance for our forthcoming Plenary over 6th/7th March at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in Southampton, with a fantastic lineup of speakers covering various industry related topics and including a tour of the Marine Autonomous Robotics System (MARS) Innovation Centre. Fantastic attendance, fantastic venue for which we are sure will be a fantastic Plenary! Please take a look at our agenda here Plenary#61 Agenda

Submarine Networks World 2022 - 7th/8th September, Singapore
Sunday, 26 June 2022

ESCA is pleased to be a Supporting Partner to Submarine Networks World 2022, to be held in Singapore 7th/8th September.

Updated ESCA Position Statement on Vessels Operating in the Vicinity of Subsea Cables
Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Following the recent update to the Marine Guidance Note 661 issued by the MCA, ESCA has updated its position statement on Vessels Operating in the Vicinity of Subsea Cables which can be downloaded from Here

ESCA continues to recommend safe and responsible practices for vessels working in the vicinity of subsea cables, and the advice is in line with maritime safety guidance. This update also continues to promote the work of KIS-ORCA and support the primary goals of ESCA in promoting cable awareness and maritime safety.

ESCA Position Statement on Post-Installation Fishing Gear Trials
Wednesday, 26 January 2022

There have been ongoing discussions on the subject of ‘Over-Trawl Trials’ recently, whereby following the installation of a submarine cable trials are undertaken to ascertain the risk of snagging for fishing gear. With this in mind, the ESCA Position Statement on Post-Installation Fishing Gear Trials has been updated to reaffirm the problems with such practices and can be downloaded from Here

How are subsea cables keeping our world connected?
Wednesday, 23 September 2020

ESCA are pleased to have collaborated with the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) to help in the production of this short informational video (EngShort) exploring some of the themes around resilience of our undersea networks.

The IET produce EngShorts which are "an ongoing series of 60-second videos, released every week, that ask challenging questions on big engineering topics to boost our public engagement and thought leadership.”

The video has been shared across social media via Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and is also available on the IET YouTube channel here:

Behind the scenes: keeping the world communicating during Covid-19 - An ESCA perspective
Monday, 13 April 2020

At a time of unprecedented risk to human health, subsea fibre optic cables enable the world to continue functioning and to remain connected by delivering light-speed communication across the globe into homes and businesses. The International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) notes that approximately 99% of the world’s communications are provided by such subsea cables, without this connectivity, life during this global pandemic would be unthinkable.

Access to the internet worldwide is increasing, with demand for internet capacity growing in excess of 40% per year, together with the number of devices that people own that have internet access, such as smart phones and laptops. Facebook, Netflix, Google, iTunes and email are part of everyday life and all rely upon subsea cables.

Such demand on subsea cable capacity has now increased even further, as people across the world have demonstrated that social distancing and isolation can be successfully undertaken together. As well as home working and business operations there are also online text and video chats, virtual knitting circles, yoga classes, gym classes, to name a few as people work to stay connected to one another. According to Techcrunch, videoconferencing apps saw just over 62 million downloads between 14-21st March alone.

From university lectures and examinations, to cookery classes, businesses have gone online to deliver their services as best they can. Social media has also helped to facilitate local support networks to assist those who are vulnerable, ‘shielding’, or self-isolating. All of this relies on smooth and efficient functioning of physical undersea, underground or overhead cable networks.

UK Government is actively working with the submarine cable industry to ensure continued operation. This includes future planning in case greater restrictions on movement are enforced in this ever-changing situation. Government departments are liaising closely to assist companies and protect the economy.

Steve Dawe, speaking as Chairman of the European Subsea Cables Association commented, “In these unprecedented times, we are reaping the benefits of good relationships ESCA has fostered within subsea communities and Government, as we manage the effects of this event. There has been rapid adoption of social distancing of terminal staff who manage and maintain subsea cables, to address the surge in capacity demand while ensuring continued operation of such critical infrastructure”

Keeping this vital infrastructure functioning is a significant task, and personnel undertaking essential maintenance operations have been recognised as key workers. Their vital work includes replacing hardware in remote coastal locations, and foreign crew arriving through an airport must be healthy and ready to join cable ships to attend to fibre optic repairs on the open sea, as may be required.

The workforce is based in worldwide locations and face many logistical challenges. Cable ships require international crews to travel from around the world to join ships based in strategic locations to conduct essential and fast repairs in order to keep global communications functioning. Where cables come ashore, landing stations must be accessible to replace and repair vital terminal equipment.

Companies have been pro-active in responding to the crisis. Cable ship operators have vessels in port, ready to sail to perform emergency repair work and these ships were quarantined even before government restrictions were imposed. Non-essential personnel were not permitted access. Some companies are requiring crew and personnel to spend 14 days hotel isolation in a nearby port before being allowed onboard. Port calls and crew changes are also being kept to an absolute minimum and time at sea for those onboard has been extended where possible and safe to do so. This can mean a longer time at sea for many of the cable ship crews so that installations and repairs can be completed without port calls and mariners spending time away from their families.

A spokesperson for a cable ship operator Global Marine Group said “The safety of our people is of upmost importance and we are following UK and local Government guidelines as well as public health advice as appropriate, and closely monitoring ongoing updates and changes and of course reacting accordingly. As connectivity right across the globe becomes ever more critical, we will strive to ensure a continuation of service for customers, to maintain the essential infrastructure that our company and the markets we operate in provide to the global community”.

Whilst nobody would claim that video conference or telecalls are a perfect solution to business operations – this is currently the way that we are forced to work during this time of crisis. However, there will be lessons to be learned in how we can all work more effectively in the future – and benefits in terms of reducing impact on climate change are being discussed. Some businesses that have never considered home working may now see advantages, or there may be all manner of creative solutions to the way we work and interact that the world has now been cornered into contemplating. After this global pandemic is over, life as we knew it will slowly return to normal – however there will undoubtedly be some fundamental changes to the way we live and work – as well as a greater appreciation for our ever growing dependence on communications and connectivity.

This article can also be downloaded Here

Cable Awareness Workshop
Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Another very successful Cable Awareness Workshop presented jointly by ESCA and The Crown Estate was held yesterday in London.

Aiming to provide an introduction to the industry for new entrants, graduates etc., the event was structured to follow the phases of a subsea project, aiming to address the lifecycle of a submarine facility, with a number of experts from a cross section of the subsea cables industry kindly providing excellent presentations to the audience.

Further events are planned!

ESCA Plenary#54, Marseille, France - Call for Papers
Wednesday, 08 January 2020

With our next Plenary due to be held 18th/19th March 2020 in Marseille, France, we are now calling for abstracts on related subsea topics. Further details can be found here: ESCA Plenary#54 Call for Papers

Submarine Networks EMEA - 18th and 19th February 2020, London
Monday, 16 December 2019

Submarine Networks EMEA arrives at the Business Design Centre, London on 18th-19th February 2020.

Places are selling fast for the EMEA's leading annual submarine communications gathering, so be sure to book your tickets today.

ESCA is pleased to announce that we are an Association Partner for this year's event.

Chairman of ESCA, Steve Dawe, will be joining speakers from across industry and our Executive Committee will also have a strong presence.

Courtesy of ESCA, we have an exclusive 20% off discount code for you to use. Simply enter code ESCA20 at the online registration page to receive the offer.

Click here to book today.

Don't miss out on your opportunity to join us in London.

An Introduction to Subsea Cables around the UK and North Western Europe
Tuesday, 03 December 2019

We are please to provide a free copy of our Introduction to Subsea Cables brochure that can be downloaded from Here

ESCA Supporting Renewables UK Events
Tuesday, 22 October 2019

ESCA is very pleased to support two forthcoming RenewableUK events; the 'Cables' and 'Floating Offshore Wind UK' 2019 Conferences/Exhibitions. Registration is available via the links below.

The Cables event will take place on 29th/30th October, with the Floating Offshore Wind event on 31st October. Both are being held at P&J Live in Aberdeen.

Subsea EMEA, hosted by Capacity Media, will return to Marseille, France!!!
Monday, 24 June 2019

On 8-10 July 2019, the third edition of Subsea EMEA, hosted by Capacity Media, will return to Marseille, France, at a stunning new location; InterContintental Marseille – Hotel Dieu. The event has established itself as the leading annual meeting for 350+ commercial subsea experts from carriers, data centres, vendors, IXPs and cloud & content providers from throughout the EMEA region. The agenda for this year features exclusive updates on the subsea industry including a Spotlight on the Nordics, Women in Subsea and cables coming into operation in 2019/20. ESCA is delighted to announce that Chairman, Steve Dawe, will join more than 40 other industry-leading speakers at the event. As ESCA is in partnership with Subsea EMEA, we have an exclusive 15% discount for you to use on your pass. In order to take advantage of this reduced rate, please click here to register your pass and enter code ESCASUB19 on the final page. We hope to see you in Marseille!

ESCA Liaison Officer Vacancy
Friday, 31 May 2019

With the intent of maintaining our presence in European and adjoining waters as the primary organisation for the promotion of marine safety and awareness of information concerning submarine cables, the European Subsea Cables Association (ESCA) announces its interest in receiving proposals for the position of a Liaison Officer or officers commencing November 2019, with the main purpose of the role being to manage the interface and liaison between ESCA and European Governments, UK Government, NGOs, External Organisations and other seabed users. The formal ‘Request for Proposal’ can be found Here

Closing date for initial responses is 28th June 2019, with completed proposals to be received by 1700 hours GMT on 30th August 2019.

Submarine Networks EMEA - 12th and 13th February 2019, London
Thursday, 07 February 2019

Submarine Networks EMEA arrives at the Business Design Centre, London on February 12th-13th.

Places are selling fast for the EMEA's leading annual submarine communications gathering, so be sure to book your tickets today.

ESCA is pleased to announce that we are an Association Partner for this year's event.

Chairman of ESCA, Steve Dawe, will be joining speakers from Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, Sudatel Telecom Group and the Port of Marseille Fos Authority on a panel on 'Addressing the regulatory challenges of a developing industry' on 13th February.

The ESCA Vice-Chairman, Peter Jamieson will also be moderating a roundtable on 'What does the future look like for maintenance agreements?' on 12th February.

Courtesy of ESCA, we have an exclusive 20% off discount code for you to use. Simply enter code AEYC at the online registration page to receive the offer.

Book here today:

Don't miss out on your opportunity to join us in London.

ESCA Position Statement on vessels operating in the vicinity of subsea cables
Friday, 28 September 2018

The European Subsea Cables Association has produced a position statement on vessels operating in the vicinity of subsea cables and can be found Here

Subsea Cable Industry Leaders to meet in Bath, UK - September 2018
Friday, 07 September 2018

The European Subsea Cables Association is pleased to announce its Autumn Plenary is being held at the Hilton Bath City Hotel, UK on the 12th/13th September, hosted by Pelagian Ltd. Nearly eighty confirmed delegates from the Communication, Power & Renewable subsea cable sector will enjoy the following presentations:

1. Using digital forensics to figure out who damaged your cable - Dr. Neil Baines (Avenca Limited)

2. Evolving Subsea Power Cable Trenching and De-Trenching Technologies and Techniques -Stephen Wilson (Soil Machine Dynamics Ltd - SMD)

3. Security measures for cables that can be applied to fibre optic cables in the marine environment - Ian Walker (SDH Project Services Ltd)

4. Seabed Mobility and Improvements to the Carbon Trust Cable Burial Risk Assessment Methodology - Dr. Kevin Black (Partrac Ltd)

5. HV Cable Performance, thermal considerations, 2k thermal issues being applied in certain countries - Prof. Justin Dix (University of Southampton)

6. The role of the EU in Subsea - Thomas Küpper (European Commission)

Speaker Biographies can be found Here

In addition, there will be industry and organisational updates from the ESCA Chair, the Sub-Group Chairs, Liaison Officer, Fishing Advisor and a panel discussion with the Executive Committee. Attendance is FREE for ESCA Members. Prospective ESCA members may be invited to attend as guests; please contact the ESCA secretary for details:

ESCA and ICPC respond to parliamentary questions on Telecommunication Network Security
Tuesday, 28 August 2018

ESCA and the ICPC were consulted extensively by Alison Tully of the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology regarding its research on Telecom Security to advise UK parliamentarians of the issues. The POST note 'Security of UK Telecommunications’ has now been published, noting neither ESCA or the ICPC had final editorial control over the content of the POST Note. This can be accessed here

ESCA Plenary#51, Bath, UK - Call for Papers
Thursday, 21 June 2018

With our next Plenary due to be held 12th/13th September 2018 in Bath, UK we are now calling for abstracts on related subsea topics. Further details can be found Here

European Subsea Cables Association Elects New Chairman!
Tuesday, 13 March 2018

ESCA announces that Stephen Dawe of Vodafone will be its new Chairman.

Mr Dawe succeeds Peter Jamieson of Liberty Global, who is standing down after serving in this role for six years.

Based in London, United Kingdom, Stephen is Engineering & Business Development Manager at Vodafone Group Services Ltd with 35 years of experience in the submarine systems industry and an extensive background in engineering, system development, management and business development. Additionally, Stephen is a SubOptic Executive Committee Member and SubOptic 2019 Papers Committee Co-chair.

Prior to leading business development for Vodafone Submarine Systems Engineering, Stephen was Director of Submarine Systems Engineering at Cable & Wireless Global Networks where he was responsible for international connectivity, carrier commercial arrangements and consortium management.

Mr Jamieson will continue in the organisation as Vice-Chairman in support of Mr Dawe.

Submarine Cables and Admiralty Law: An Article by Richard Sarll - A Guide to Cable Damage Claims
Tuesday, 06 March 2018

An article by Richard Sarll concerning the pursuit of claims for subsea cables appears in this month's edition of Lloyd's Shipping and Trading Law. The article aims to provide a comprehensive but succinct guide to these claims, which are increasing in number.

The article can be found here.

Submarine Networks Europe - 20th/21st February 2018, London, UK
Wednesday, 07 February 2018

On 20th and 21st February, 250+ leaders from the EMEA subsea cable industry will come together at the Hilton Tower Bridge in London for Submarine Networks Europe 2018. ESCA announces that it will be hosting a workshop at 15.15 on 21st February on 'Spatial Planning: Why consultation and flexibility are key'. Steve Dawe, Vice Chairman of ESCA will be moderating the workshop session with the aim to discuss issues arising from the cumulative effects of multi sector seabed use. Peter Jamieson, Chairman of ESCA, will be participating in a panel exploring the 'Regulatory challenges in an evolving industry' at 14.25 on 21st February. He will also be moderating a roundtable on 'Addressing the security risks and protecting our subsea cable infrastructure' at 12.10 on the 20th February.

ESCA Plenary#50, Hannover, Germany - Extended Call for Papers
Monday, 29 January 2018

With our next Plenary due to be held 28th February/1st March in Hannover, Germany, we have extended the date for submission of abstracts on related subsea topics. Further details can be found Here

MMO Subsea Cables Desk Note - MMO Press Release
Monday, 22 January 2018

Following our recent announcement on the issuance of the MMO Subsea Cables Desk Note, produced in consultation with ESCA, we are pleased to refer you to the related press release issued by the MMO:

Importance of KIS-ORCA
Wednesday, 17 January 2018

As members will know, ESCA (SCUK) has always been a great advocate of KIS-ORCA and never has it been more critical to stress its importance to the subsea cable industry from a marine protection perspective. Much can be written but this introduction to KIS-ORCA says it all! An Introduction to KIS-ORCA

MMO Subsea Cables Desk Note
Friday, 12 January 2018

The MMO produce internal desk notes to assist their staff in dealing with applications for licences and the desk notes are important in setting out legal obligations and making sure that staff work in consistent ways to deliver their regulatory duties. ESCA worked closely with MMO in developing this desk note to make sure that the content is of value to the cable industry and that the information contained in it gives a clear understanding of what applicants need to do to achieve licenses. ESCA warmly welcomes this approach which means that we are the first sector operating in the marine environment which has a publicly available desk note ensuring consistency for both applicant and regulator. ESCA and the MMO agree that this is a very positive contribution to the way that industry is managed and demonstrates the benefits of working together to achieve the common goals of economic growth and environmental protection. We hope that the desk note will be of significant value to members undertaking cable applications and we would welcome feedback from you, to the ESCA Secretary, on the use of the desk note in future work. To download the desk note please click Here

Will Successful Damage Claims Against Fishing Vessels Change Habits?
Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Fishing related activity is responsible for approximately 70% of all submarine cable damages in European waters, but despite this high percentage prosecutions against fishing vessels that damage submarine cables have always been relatively very low. The low volume of prosecutions has historically been because it was very difficult to identify fishing vessels that may have damaged a submarine cable. This has now changed in recent years with the need for all fishing boats over 15m in length to transmit AIS vessel tracking data, or in the event of a fishing boat’s AIS being illegally disabled by the vessels operator, it has been proven possible to obtain VMS vessel tracking data from the government regulator. This means that submarine cable operators now have the ability to detect and identify fishing vessels that may damage cables by trawling over them. One of the UK’s largest telecommunications operators, and a European Subsea Cable Association member, has just this month settled out of court with the insurer of a fishing vessel that damaged its cable in the Irish Sea on two separate occasions. Although the settlement cannot be disclosed, it is understood to be a significant high six figure sum, representing recovery of winter repair costs. ESCA is also aware of several other cable operators that have similar cable damage claims against fishing vessels in the pipeline. Will this development encourage fishing vessels to stay away from known and charted cables? With the risk of having to pay out large sums of money for cable repairs will insurers be forced to pass on that risk to the fishing industry via a hike in premiums? Will the insurance companies try to reduce the risk to premiums by making the act of fishing over cables uninsurable negligence, or will they mandate the use of KIS-ORCA charts and greater respect for cables on the seabed?

ESCA's response to Undersea Cables Report - “Undersea cables Indispensable, insecure”
Thursday, 07 December 2017

ESCA's response to the recently published report “Undersea cables Indispensable, insecure” published by Policy Exchange on 1st December 2017 can be found: Here

High-level numerical analysis to indicate the impact of rollers on subsea power cables
Wednesday, 11 October 2017

ESCA recently procured a study to provide a high-level numerical analysis to indicate the impact of rollers on subsea power cables passing over quadrants or sheaves while under tension. Such study has now been completed and is available: Here

ESCA Plenary#49, Glasgow, UK - Call for Papers
Friday, 30 June 2017

With our next Plenary due to be held 13th/14th September 2017 in Glasgow, UK, we are now calling for abstracts on related subsea topics. Further details can be found here: ESCA Plenary#49 Call for Papers

Huddersfield University Study - 'An Economic and Social Evaluation of the UK Subsea Cables Industry'
Monday, 13 February 2017

During our September ESCA Plenary held in London, Professor Caroline Elliott of Huddersfield University gave an excellent presentation giving an overview of the outcomes from the study we had procured the University to undertake in 2015, under our former name of Subsea Cables UK, on ‘An Economic and Social Evaluation of the UK Subsea Cables Industry’, jointly funded by ESCA and TCE. We are now pleased to advise that the final report has been issued and can be found here: An Economic and Social Evaluation of the UK Subsea Cables Industry

Practice Note on 'The Laying and Maintenance of Subsea Cables - The Planning and Environmental Regulatory Consenting Process'
Friday, 03 February 2017

ESCA is pleased to announce the issuance of a Practice Note, produced on our behalf by the legal firm Winckworth Sherwood, offering guidance on the legal and regulatory requirements that have to be met and the environmental factors to be considered when laying, maintaining or repairing submarine power or telecommunication cables.

The focus is on cables in the territorial waters (up to 12 nautical miles from the baseline) of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, but guidance is also given on cables further offshore.

This Practice Note is available upon request via the 'Documents' page.

ESCA Plenary#48 Call for Papers
Monday, 23 January 2017

With our next Plenary due to be held 1st/2nd March 2017 in Bilbao, Spain we have extended the timescales of our call for abstracts on related subsea topics. Further details can be found here: ESCA Plenary#48 Call for Papers

ESCA Plenary#48 - Call for Papers
Friday, 16 December 2016

With our next Plenary due to be held 1st/2nd March 2017 in Bilbao, Spain we are now calling for abstracts on related subsea topics. Further details can be found here: ESCA Plenary#48 Call for Papers

Huddersfield University Study - 'An Economic and Social Evaluation of the UK Subsea Cables Industry'
Thursday, 06 October 2016

During our September ESCA Plenary held in London, Professor Caroline Elliott of Huddersfield University gave an excellent presentation giving an overview of the outcomes from the study we had procured the University to undertake on ‘An Economic and Social Evaluation of the UK Subsea Cables Industry’, jointly funded by ESCA and TCE. The final report is presently being reviewed but we thought you might be interested in the excellent press release issued by the University at the following link:

ESCA will issue its follow-up press release to industry in due course.

Let us put the record straight on 'Submarines, Sharks and Spooks' (and other submarine cable myths)!!!
Sunday, 11 September 2016

In two decades the internet has become part of the fabric of society. It is considered by many to be essential to modern life. A survey by Cisco in 2011 revealed that the internet was as important to some people as food and water.

Like food and water, we take the internet for granted. We just expect it to be there, we expect it to work and we care very little about the infrastructure that delivers the internet to us.

The statistic that still surprises many people is that over 98% of all communications are transported globally via a network of optical fibre submarine cables, and not via satellite. Submarine cables, such as the ones owned and maintained by European Subsea Cables Association member companies are the backbone of the global internet.

Over the last few years the profile of submarine cables has been improving. Two new cable systems (Hibernia Express, AE Connect) have been built across the Atlantic from America to Europe, the first in over a decade. Also new systems that are been backed by the “Big 4 tech companies” are being built and more are planned.

Unfortunately the increase in publicity of new submarine cables has also resulted in an increase in submarine cable myths that refuse to be dispelled. Every few months a story appears that advises sharks are biting submarine cables or the CIA has submarines tapping cables. Below are the top three myths, and why they’re wrong.

1. Sharks damage submarine cables.

It’s a great story guaranteed to be accompanied by a big scary picture of a shark. But there is no evidence that the internet is threatened by sharks. It appeared a few years ago in a story about a new submarine cable with a You Tube clip of a shark being encouraged to bite some kind of cable.

However, a study by the International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) of all submarine cable damages from 2007 – 2014 revealed that NO damages whatsoever were attributed to shark activity.

2. Russian submarines are poised to cut submarine cables in the event of conflict.

A story James Bond or Jason Bourne would be proud of. It emerged late in 2015 that the USA was concerned about Russian ships and submarines loitering around submarine cables, potentially zeroing in on their locations in readiness to cut them and isolate the USA. To implement such a plan Russia would have to cut some 16 cables in the Atlantic and some 18 cables in the Pacific simultaneously. Whilst not impossible, extremely improbable. Also it is worth remembering that Russia is as dependant on the global submarine cable network as much as any other nation.

The location of submarine cables is not secret, apart from the secret ones! Information on cables is given to the fishing industry via projects such as the European focussed, so as to avoid damage to cables and capsizing of fishing boats.

3. U.S. Submarines and/ or other clandestine agencies are tapping submarine cables

Quite simply this can’t be done without being detected by the cable owner. You cannot secretly tap a submarine optical fibre cable without being intrusive to the cable itself.

Light will not escape from an optical fibre unless the fibre is bent to such a degree that the ‘angle of incidence’ of the incoming light exceeds the ‘angle of total internal reflection’ of the fibre cladding.

To do this the cable construction would have to be stripped back to expose the bare optical fibres, this includes cutting through the power core of the cable that powers the repeating equipment. The fibre would need to be bent and detection equipment placed on it to capture any escaped light. The light that escaped would diffuse and not be a coherent beam, as it would of been within the fibre. Modern optical fibres can carry 100x100G wavelengths on each fibre that are complexly modulated The chances of any diffuse light collected by detection equipment that would be readable are very slim.

You would have to do this for every optical fibre within the cables which could be around 12 for a trans-oceanic cable or possibly 300 for a shorter haul cable.

Now that’s not to say that government agencies do not have access to the information carried on the internet, but there are easier ways to do it than trying to tap a submarine optical fibre cable in the depths of the world’s oceans.

Instead of worrying about Russia and submarines, if the governments of the world are really concerned about the protection of submarine cables they should turn their attention to the two main causes of submarine cable damage…………..Fishing and Anchors! Although I think Bond and Bourne may sit that one out.

Peter Jamieson - Chairman, European Subsea Cables Association

Industry Leaders to attend European Subsea Cables Association Conference
Monday, 05 September 2016

We are pleased to announce that our next -bi-annual Plenary will be held over 1.5 days on the 14th/15th September 2016, at K&L Gates LLP offices in central London.

Over 60 delegates from the ESCA membership: submarine cable system owners, maintenance authorities, system manufacturers, cable ship operators, consultants and submarine cable route survey companies from many different countries, will discuss and exchange technical, legal and environmental information affecting the industry.

Confirmed speakers on the agenda include: 

Eugene Bergin, (Mott MacDonald Ltd) – Overview of CIGRE and Power Cables; 

Andrew Thomas, (ETA Connect Ltd) – Challenges Facing The Marine Installer Within The Marine Renewable Power Industry; 

Caroline Elliott (Huddersfield University) – An economic evaluation of the UK subsea cables industry encompassing quantitative and qualitative analyses; 

Brian Greenwood (Winckworth Sherwood LLP) – Subsea Cables - the planning and environmental regulatory process; 

Matthew Frow (Seafish) – Improving offshore awareness & the development of fishermen’s training

Other speakers are Peter Barham – Liaison Officer, Aaron Mair – Fishing Industry Consultant, together with updates from the Chairman and Sub-Group Chairmen.

For further information or if you are thinking of becoming a member, please review the website and/or contact us at:

New European Organisation for Subsea Cables
Thursday, 17 March 2016

The European Subsea Cables Association (ESCA) has today announced their formation as “the” European trade association for all telecommunication and power subsea cables.

The new association has emerged from what was formally Subsea Cables UK. It is a forum of European companies that own, operate and maintain subsea cables or provide services for the subsea cable industry within European and surrounding waters.

The principal goal of ESCA is the promotion of marine safety, safeguarding of subsea cables from man-made and natural hazards and protecting the rights of operators to install and maintain cables.

Peter Jamieson of Virgin Media and Chairman of the European Subsea Cables Association advised: “The requirement to form this new association has come from our membership and it was the logical evolution of the organisation. Close to 50% of the old UK association members were non-UK. Therefore, we can better serve our members by becoming a more regional association”.

Colin Rayman of Red Penguin Associates and ESCA Executive Committee Member advised: “The formation of a European Submarine Cable Association will mean we can now reach out further to enhance our European Maritime and Fishing liaison with Government Departments and Associations with similar interests, and to move closer to attaining mutual understanding of our industries, sharing the seabed safely and maintaining the integrity of assets.”

ESCA provides guidance and technical papers freely to members for the benefit of the sector. The membership of the organisation contains expertise from all areas of the industry and convene bi-annually to share ideas and information.

If you are a marine cable owner, operator, consultant or supplier and are interested in joining the European Subsea Cables Association, please either contact our Chairman or Secretary via the ‘Contacts’ section of the website or download the Membership Application Form, also available on the website via the 'About Us' section.

European Subsea Cables Association Position Statement on OSPAR publication “Guidelines on Best Environmental Practice (BEP) in Cable Laying and Operation”
Saturday, 25 April 2015

The European Subsea Cables Association has produced a position statement on OSPAR's publication “Guidelines on Best Environmental Practice (BEP) in Cable Laying and Operation” and can be found here: OSPAR BEP

Press Release - European Subsea Cables Association Publishes New Industry Guidance for Installation and Testing of Submarine Power Cables
Thursday, 02 April 2015

The European Subsea Cables Association, “the” trade association for submarine power and telecommunications cables for the United Kingdom and Northern Europe, announces the launch of two new guidelines.

Guideline No.14 – Power Cable Installation and Guideline No.17 – Testing of AC & DC Subsea Power Cables.

The Guidance has been compiled by a very knowledgeable team from within the European Subsea Cables Association membership and is free to all members.

Tony Zymelka of Zytech Ltd. Chair of the working group that produced the guidance commented “The combined experience of subsea cables that the team and the European Subsea Cables Association bring to these documents has been accumulated over many hundreds of years and many tens of thousands of kilometres of all types of subsea cables installed.

Peter Jamieson of Virgin Media. Chairman of the European Subsea Cables Association added. We have a long history of producing valuable industry guidance that is welcomed globally. Industry experts that are members of the European Subsea Cables Association have freely given their time and experience in the compilation of this guidance for the benefit of all concerned with the subsea cable industry.

European Subsea Cables Association LinkedIn Page
Tuesday, 16 December 2014

So that you are kept updated with any news releases related to the work of the European Subsea Cables Association, please do follow us on LinkedIn by clicking on the tab at the top of the page. Thank you.

Kis-Orca Article in 'Real Power' Magazine
Thursday, 27 November 2014

Please take some time to read the Autumn issue of 'Real Power' Magazine, where the excellent article on the Kis-Orca Project very much reinforces the critical importance of the project, in terms of the safety of fishermen at sea and protection of offshore assets. Additional information on the Kis-Orca Project can be found on its website at

SUDG Newsletter
Tuesday, 11 November 2014

We are pleased to advise that the latest SUDG Newsletter is available from their website at You may be particularly interested in the article on page 4 titled 'Connecting Our World', which includes a quote from our Chairman, Peter Jamieson.

European Subsea Cables Association Articles on Telecoms and Power Cables
Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Submarine cables (telecommunications and power) are critical to the UK and Europe’s future digital economy and energy needs. To many people submarine cable infrastructure is unseen and little thought about. When articles about submarine cables are written they tend to contain spurious information about shark bites or being tapped by the worlds clandestine security agencies. Some people still think most international communications are carried by satellite!

The European Subsea Cables Association have therefore produced two articles, one on telecommunication cables and one on power cables. The articles are non-technical in nature and are intending to be an informative and easy read.

The articles can be viewed on our website or are available to download and can be freely distributed.

Please click the following links to download:

Submarine Telecommunications Cables

Submarine Power Cables

European Subsea Cables Association Position Statement on Post Cable Lay Trawl Sweeps
Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The European Subsea Cables Association Position Statement on post cable lay trawl sweeps can be found here: ESCA Position Statement

EU/Faroe International Fishing Agreement
Friday, 04 April 2014

From 1st April 2014, Scottish fishermen will have access to Faroese waters following the first EU/Faroe fishing agreement since 2010.

'Fishing News' Article w/c 13th January 2014 - North-east Scotland visit to distribute free update on cable positions
Wednesday, 08 January 2014

'SHEFA Faroes, a member of Subsea Cables UK and a subsidiary of the Faroese telecoms industry, will be distributing the latest information on the position of submarine telecoms cables by handing out free discs and memory sticks to skippers and vessel agents next week during a five day tour of Scotland.

The visit is in conjunction with the distribution of KIS-ORCA disks which are available free from the Scottish Fisherman’s Federation, Kingfisher/Seafish, or available for download from the KIS-ORCA website:

Produced at considerable cost, this additional information distribution was decided by SHEFA after their subsea cable running from Orkney to Banff, which is used to transmit vital and important information, was damaged on three occasions in 2013 after exposed sections were inadvertently snagged by trawlers.

Following these incidents, SHEFA commissioned Kingfisher/Seafish to produce new information in the form of discs and pen drives displaying the cable and highlighting areas where it is not buried and liable to damage.

The updated information will be distributed free by Aaron Mair of Port Hill Marine Ltd. who will be visiting as many ports and fishing businesses as possible from Monday 20th until Friday 24th January to highlight the SHEFA cable and the new information available. Aaron Mair will be accompanied during the tour of Scotland by SHEFA Project Manager Brian Rosendahl.

Run by Aaron Mair, skipper/owner of the Buckie seine netter Astra BCK 67 and the beamer Amoria BCK 36 for 15 years before working with the MMO for 9 years, Port Hill Marine Ltd is contracted as fisheries advisor to the Subsea Cable UK (SCUK) industry including renewables.

The European Subsea Cables Association are the consultative body for the UK Subsea Cable industry representing all the major stakeholders such as BT, Virgin Media, Centrica, Vodafone, Dong, SSE, and many more. The European Subsea Cables Association has a membership of some 40 cable owners and developers. There exists a healthy relationship between the European Subsea Cables Association and SFF and in 2013 both parties signed up to a Memorandum of Understanding in order to progress common understanding between the two industries.

Aaron Mair can be contacted on 01670 542851 and Brain Rosendahl on 00298 243602'

European Subsea Cables Association Leaflet
Tuesday, 26 March 2013

We are pleased to advise that a 'Subsea Cables UK Leaflet' providing more information on the work of the European Subsea Cables Association is now available for download.

Saturday, 09 March 2013

The new KIS-ORCA website has gone live! Please visit

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